Inbox: Wright best suited for playoff setup role?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers questions from Red Sox fans

September 10th, 2018

Why don't the Red Sox just go with as the setup man now and test it for the postseason?
-- @erics_redsox

I do believe Wright will be an important piece to the bullpen in the playoffs, but I'm not sure having him as the setup man is the answer. Wright can be a guy you can go to for two to three innings, and he might be able to screw up the swings of the opponent at a time of year when teams are geared up to hit 95-mph fastballs. Also, remember that knuckleballers are prone to inconsistency, so manager Alex Cora will have to make quick evaluations if Wright has his good knuckleball on a given night.
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Who's their eighth-inning guy in the postseason?
-- @ bostoncrp09

Still up for grabs. , Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly and are all in the mix. might also get a shot depending on how he looks in the bullpen. The last three weeks of the regular season are going to be fascinating to see if a reliever can establish himself.
Will the Red Sox's bullpen be better in October than we think? (Please say yes.)
-- @billcolrus

I have a fairly recent example that might make you feel better. Remember how everyone was freaking out about the bullpen late in the 2003 season? That bullpen actually wound up being a strength once the playoffs started. So much so that fans were justifiably outraged that those relievers were left sitting in the bullpen by manager Grady Little while Pedro Martinez got fatigued in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
Do you think the Red Sox are going to regret not adding another reliever or two? They really regretted not adding another power hitter after Ortiz retired and that showed in the postseason against the Astros last year as the Red Sox struggled to get runs instantly
-- @redsoxarebeas

You can say that a lot of people first-guessed it when no relievers were added prior to July 31 or Aug. 31. Obviously, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski didn't see a deal worth making, otherwise he would have made it. But sure, he is open to being criticized if the team loses in the AL Division Series or even the ALCS because the bullpen isn't strong enough.
Do you think will make the postseason roster?
-- Coleman C., San Diego

At this point, it's hard to picture Pomeranz being a fit on the roster. He hasn't pitched well as a starter or as a reliever this season and his velocity has been consistently lower than it was last year. Unless they see a noticeable uptick in performance down the stretch, I don't see Pomeranz pitching in the playoffs.
Will or E-Rod start Game 3 of the ALDS?
-- @CraigMacCormack

I think that Cora will go with Porcello. For one thing, it breaks up the lefties because Chris Sale and are all but certain to go Games 1 and 2. The other thing is that Porcello has more experience and is less likely to become unnerved at that time of year.
Does the throwing error by and him being pinch-hit for late in the game Sunday cool off the idea that he's making the postseason roster? Seemed like he was being penciled in ahead of , and until Sunday night.
-- @Reegs568

The Red Sox would never be shortsighted enough to make a decision based on one game. This would be like saying Phillips made the postseason roster just because he hit a game-winning homer in Atlanta. All of these evaluations will take place over the next three weeks. The roster is due on the morning of Game 1 of the ALDS. Nobody had been penciling Phillips in for anything. There will be a legitimate battle going on for lineup spots, bullpen spots and roster spots over the final three weeks of the season.
What to do with Devers? Will he be on the playoff roster?
-- @brianssportssh1

I believe one of the keys for the Red Sox in these last three weeks is to find a way to get Devers going at the plate. You can talk all you want about and Phillips, but Devers has the most upside of the three offensively. If you can get his bat going, you can have a big threat at the plate for the first six or seven innings and replace him on defense late in the game.